‘Cancellation of the deal not enough, inquiry needed into why it was struck'

While the Prime Minister's Office [PMO] claimed ignorance about the ‘Antrix-Devas deal', the government was targeting the scientific community by blacklisting them, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told a press conference here on Friday.

In the light of the resignation of Roddam Narasimha, eminent scientist and the senior-most member of the Space Commission, he demanded that the report of the government committee's probe into the deal be made public.

“The BJP sympathises fully with the sensibilities of the scientific community. Scientists are being insulted by [being blacklisted]. Everyone in the PMO is trying to deny their role and putting the blame on the scientists,” Mr. Javadekar said.

Referring to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, he said: “He was the MoS [Minister of State] in the PMO at the time. He attended all the Space Commission meetings. He owes an explanation. What was his role in the decision-making? He is guilty of complacency and negligence.”

Mr. Javadekar said cancellation of the deal was not enough, but an inquiry into why it was struck in the first place was needed.

He sought an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding his claim that foreign organisations were responsible for fomenting opposition to Bt Brinjal and nuclear power in India — which he called “an insult to patriots and farmers.”

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